How much is too much TV? At the beginning of COVID, I was on the news cycle 18 hours a day. If I wasn’t watching television I was scrolling the internet for updates, info and validation. I say validation because I needed to know that my feelings were not unreasonable and other people out there were angry, frustrated and worried.
In times of a crisis, TV is all there is. (apart from wine and chocolate and Zoom) I watched old episodes of West Wing, Buffy and Absolutely Fabulous. I sat on the couch and scrolled through Twitter and Facebook and spent too much time on Instagram.
After several weeks of this, I thought I needed to stretch myself. I needed more than my reruns. (no disrespect to any of the above wonderful shows)I needed to prove to myself that my attention span could be longer than the average 50 minute TV show. So I resolved to view one movie a day – selected from my very extensive to-be-watched lists from all my streaming services.
So far, I’ve seen:
Marriage Story. Deserves all its accolades. It made me realise what damned fine actors Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver are. Plus any film with Laura Dern in it wins me over.
Goodnight, and Good luck, a Clooney produced film set during the McCarthy era in the 1950s focusing on the stoush between CBS and Joseph McCarthy. It was bleak and horrifying and frightening. Not to everyone’s taste but I found it compelling.
The Laundromat. Hmm. All about breaking the fourth wall and insurance fraud and lots of financial jargon I didn’t understand. However, I enjoyed the film though I don’t think the actors had a lot to do. Not one of Meryl Streep’s best roles, or rather not one of the best productions to show off her acting chops. I know it’s a controversial view as Stephen Soderbergh directed it and it had Hollywood royalty in it and it was a worthy topic. Aah well.
Little Girl Blue a documentary about Janis Joplin. It’s full of old evocative footage; devastatingly sad, yet beautiful to watch.
Otherhood, where the main star was New York City, the lead roles were all women over 40 and it was about love, reconciliation and forgiveness. Sometimes a bit cheesy, but good to watch on a rainy afternoon.
Frances Ha. Urged on my daughter, I watched the film about young New Yorkers- all various shades of irritating, but I found it compelling and wistful and realistic. It just didn’t have the humour and sass of my much loved, Broad City.
Of course, all these films are based on real-life events to some degree or another, but they are not my reality. And the common themes between all of them, if I had to drill down, are bravery, tenacity and fortitude.
Maybe it’s no accident that I chose these films. Maybe I need a shot of bravery, tenacity and fortitude as we live through these weird times and realise things may not be the same on the other side of all this.
In the meantime, I’ll go back to that watch- list. I have a feeling the next movie might be The Godfather. And if all else fails and I’m sick of the movies, I’ll watch episodes of Bluey, my favourite kids show or go back to the adventures of Patsy Stone and Edina Monsoon.
Which movies have you been watching in the time of Covid? Or has TV or podcasts won the day? Or wine?